Ronnie O’Sullivan conqueror James Cahill beaten by 15-year-old in World Championship qualifiers

James Cahill has not repeated his World Championship heroics (Picture: Getty Images)

James Cahill caused one of the great World Championship shocks last year as he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible, but he has been dumped out of the competition in the first round of qualifying this year, by a 15-year-old!

Belgian teenager Ben Mertens caused the substantial upset in Sheffield on Wednesday as he picked up the biggest victory of his young career so far by downing Cahill 6-2.

The Englishman was the overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers and started the game impressively, with a break of 82 in the first frame, but then he lost five frames on the spin to the youngster.

Mertens held his nerve and got over the line to win 6-2, which he could scarcely believe after the contest.

‘It’s amazing, I’m over the moon, I really can’t believe it,’ said the schoolboy in impressive English.

‘Overall I played well, so I’m very happy.

‘I’m very pleased, I was happy that I got one frame on the board, but to win a match 6-2 is really unbelievable.’

Mertens has been seen on television screens before, competing alongside Luca Brecel at the World Cup and, incredibly, winning a match against veteran James Wattana at the Snooker Shootout last year.

He has set up a second round clash with Sam Baird, but he says his trip to Sheffield simply cannot get any better.

‘The World Cup was also on television, so that helped me to handle the cameras and stuff,’ said the rising Belgian star.

‘I was always watching Luca when I was young. Now I can do it on TV myself is amazing.

‘The week doesn’t get any better anymore. Of course I want to win against Sam, but I’m already happy.’

Round one of qualifying is now complete in Sheffield with three more to go to decide the 16 players that will join the top 16 in the world rankings at the Crucible.

Cahill will be going home with no prize money after falling at the first hurdle and will hopefully be motivated to return to the glory days of his 10-8 victory over the Rocket last year.

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan slams Crucible crowd decision, but will play World Snooker Championship

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